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The African Development Bank Group Chief Economist Complex

Africa Economic Brief


Volume 2, Issue 7 11 May, 2011

Russias Economic Engagement with Africa1


1 . Introduction In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation, an ideological friend and ally of many African countries during the Cold War period, started to disengage from Africa and other developing countries, and to develop closer relations with the Western countries. As Russias economic strength started to reinvigorate in the late 1990s, the Russian foreign policy objective of reestablishing its geopolitical stature led to a renewal of its relations with Africa. This was driven not only by political ambitions but also by economic and commercial motivations. The African continent, enriched by vast natural resources and with burgeoning consumer markets, has become a very attractive destination for Russian investment. The post-2000 Russian economic stability, which resulted in strong economic growth (yearly average GDP growth rate of 6.9 percent), increasing demand for Russian exports (mostly oil and other natural resources) and higher foreign exchange reserves (worlds third largest reserve). This presented an opportunity for the Russian government and business elites to expand their influence beyond Russian
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and CIS borders and to enhance their political and commercial ties with African countries and other emerging markets. This brief will examine Russias economic reengagement with African countries by quantifying trade between the two regions, analyzing the investment flows of Russian companies into Africa, and assessing the potentials of Russias energy expertise for Africas resource-rich countries. 2. RussiaAfrica Trade Relations

Contents:
1. Introduction 2. Russia-Africa Trade Relations 3. Growing Interest of Russian Investors 4. Prospects of Russias Reengagement with Africa 5. Conclusion

Mthuli Ncube m.ncube@afdb.org +216 7110 2062 Charles Leyeka Lufumpa c.lufumpa@afdb.org +216 7110 2175 Desire Vencatachellum d.vencatachellum@afdb.org +216 7110 2076

The importance of Russia as a trading partner to African countries is quite minimal when compared to other developed countries and emerging markets such as the European Union, the United States, China, India, and Brazil. Bilateral trade between Russia and Africa reached its peak of US$ 7.3 billion in 2008. Although this is close to a tenfold increase from the very low trade volume of US$ 740 million in 1994, it is not significant enough to guarantee Russian companies a bargaining edge when engaging with African countries. To improve its political and commercial ties with

Prepared by the following staff: Habiba Ben Barka, Senior Planning Economist (SAEC), under the supervision of Kupukile Mlambo , Advisor & Lead Economist (ECON).

Disclaimer: The views and interpretations in this brief are those of the author and not necessarily those of the African Development Bank. The figures in the tables and in other parts of the document have been collected from different sources and may differ from the official figures of Government of Russia due to accounting period and other reasons.

Russias Economic Engagement with Africa

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Africa and facilitate market access to its firms, the Russian government embraced a new foreign policy toward Africa, undertook high official visits to some African countries, and advocated for conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance, and debt relief for Africa.

Russian imports from

Africa rose overall from US$ 350 million in 2000 to US$ 1.6 billion in 2009 while exports grew from US$ 947 million to US$ 4 billion over the same period.

Source: UN COMTRADE, AfDB

has maintained a trade surplus with Africa, which stood at US$ 597 million in 2000, rising to US$ 3.3 billion in 2008 and falling to US$ 2.3 billion in 2009.

Russia

Since 2000, Russias trade with Africa started to rise but with imports of African products increasing at a slower pace than Russian exports to the Africa continent. Imports from Africa rose overall from US$ 350 million in 2000 to US$ 1.6 billion in 2009 while exports grew from US$ 947 million to US$ 4 billion over the same period. Both exports and imports grew steadily from 2000 to 2008, after which they slightly decreased because of the impacts of the world financial and economic crisis. Russia has maintained a trade surplus with Africa, which stood at US$ 597 million in 2000, rising to US$ 3.3 billion in 2008 and falling to US$ 2.3 billion in 2009.

Source: UN COMTRADE, AfDB

Russias Economic Engagement with Africa

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Russias renewed

interest in Africa has been fueled by the crucial need to access foreign energy reserves as Russia runs the risk of exhausting its oil reserves should the current scale of national exploitation remain constant.

Russian imports from Africa are also concentrated in a few countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Guinea, Cte dIvoire and South Africa jointly these account for about 80 percent of Africas exports to Russia. The exports from Africa are slightly more diverse and include ores, uranium, iron, and other concentrates of base metal, fruits and nuts, cocoa, tobacco, and inorganic chemical elements. Although the import of African products increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 percent between 2000 and 2009, Africa still accounts for only 1 percent of Russias world trade. This marginalized position of Africa vis-vis trade with Russia may reflect the countrys long withdrawal from the continent following the end of the Cold War. It is unlikely to reverse because of Russias growing interest to modernize its trade network by expanding its trade of machinery and equipment, and other technologies. At the current stage of its development and given the limited dynamics of its export base, Africa may not be in a position to meet Russias trade interests. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that Russias renewed interests in Africa has been fueled by the crucial need to access foreign energy reserves as Russia runs the risk of exhausting its oil reserves should the current scale of national exploitation remain constant. Africas rich untapped oil and natural gas reserves provide an opportunity for Russias outbound exploration drive and strategic goal of remaining the worlds largest exporter of oil (second to Saudi Arabia) and natural gas, and maintaining Europes dependence on its export of natural gas. In 2009 oil, fuel and gas accounted for 67.4 percent of total exports from Russia,

and more than three-fourths of its oil and gas exports went to Europe. Oil and gas account for 30 percent of Russias GDP, and constitute more than 40 percent of government revenues. While the recent high oil prices are projected to keep the current account in surplus (peaking at US$ 103.7 billion in 2008), falling Russian oil reserves may slow down the strong economic growth experienced over the past ten years (6.9 percent increase on average per year).

3.

Growing Interest of Russian

Investors Africas vast natural reserves make the continent an increasingly attractive investment destination for Russias energy and other natural resource industries. On account of its strong economic growth, large external assets (US$ 480 billion in foreign exchange reserves), increasing outward direct investment stock (from US$ 3 billion in 1995 to US$ 249 billion in 2009), and politico-strategic ambitions, Russia represents a major potential investor in African countries. At the same time, Russias outward investment is dominated by large resource-based corporations that seek to gain greater access to the African market of fuel, energy and metallurgy, and expand Russian investment flows to Africa, which peaked at US$ 20 billion in 2008. The table below illustrates some of the major Russian investment operations in African countries.

Russias outward

investment is dominated by large resource-based corporations that seek to gain greater access to the African market of fuel.

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Major Investments of Russian Companies in Africa Russian Investor Norilsk Nickel Norilsk Nickel Host Country/ Company South Africa Gold Fields Botswana Tati Nickel Industry Type of Investment M&A (acquired 30% of Gold Fields) M&A (acquisition of Canada Lion Ore Mining gave it 85% stake in Tati Nickel Greenfield Investment Value Year

Gold mining and processing Nickel mining and processing Oil, gas, diamonds and copper exploration Oil exploration Aluminum refining

US$1.16 billion US$2.5 billion

2004

2007

Sintez

South Africa, Namibia, Angola Cte dIvoire, Ghana Nigeria ALSCON

US$1050 million US$900 million US$250 million

2006

Lukoil

Oil, gas and other

natural resources sectors have been the major contributors to the Russian economic boom and increasingly, they dominate Russian outward investment.

Rusal

Severstal Liberia

Iron ore

Gazpro m

Algeria Sonatrach

Natural gas exploration

Alrosa

Angola, Namibia, DRC Egypt

Rosatom

Diamond mining, and hydroelectricity Nuclear power

M&A (acquired interest in 10,500 km deep water blocks) M&A (acquired majority stake in Aluminum Smelter Company ALSCON of Nigeria) M&A (acquired control of iron ore deposit in Putu Range area of Liberia Joint exploration and development projects by debt write-off agreement and arms deal Greenfield Investment

2010

US$40 million

2008

US$4.7 billion and US$7.5 billion US$300400 million

2006

1992

Ongoing US$1.8 negotiations to billion build Egypts first nuclear power plant

2010

Sources: various media sources; Russian company websites.

As mentioned above, oil, gas and other natural resources sectors have been the major contributors to the Russian economic boom and increasingly, they dominate Russian outward investment. Therefore, it is not surprising to see large Russian

multinationals such as Lukoil, Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Alrosa, Rusal and Severstal invest in oil, gas, diamond, aluminum, iron ore and other metal products in many African countries including Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cte dIvoire,

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Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa. The motivation behind Russian business expansion in Africa is also driven by the depletion of the resources base in Russia (see table below). The absence of new discoveries and technological advancement, which are weakening Russias domestic energy, together with the lack of easy access to the remaining underground mineral deposits in Russia, are some of the factors leading Russian Africas considerable natural resources. While Africas share of global energy production is about 12 percent and increasing, its share of global commercial energy consumption is only 3 percent, which represents a significant supply for Russias growing oil demand. The high costs of
Year 2011 2013

Africas underexploited

mineral reserves, which account for about 30 percent of global resources, will be strategic complementarities to Russias depleting natural resource base, including zinc, diamond, gold, uranium, oil, copper, nickel, manganese, bauxite, and coal.

accessing Russias reserves of diamonds, uranium, gold, copper, nickel and other metals and their reduced economic viability given the volatility of these products world prices, have encouraged Russian firms to turn to Africa as an alternative source of supply, as the costs of exploration and production are much lower there. In fact, Africas underexploited mineral reserves, which account for about 30 percent of global resources, will be strategic complementarities to Russias depleting natural resource base, including zinc, diamond, gold, uranium, oil, copper, nickel, manganese, bauxite, and coal. Moreover countries such as Algeria, Angola, Botswana, DRC, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia, which dominate the African mining industry, will potentially attract an increasing number of Russian business elites.

Depletion Timeline of Russias Mineral Reserves Economically Viable Reserves Zinc Chromium Ores; Diamonds; Quartz 2015 Tin; Uranium; Gold; Oil 2016 Copper; Nickel; Tungsten 2018 Platinum; Graphite Beyond Coal; Phosphate; Potash; 2025 Bauxite; Iron Ores; Natural Gas; Vanadium; Fluorspar; Salt All Reserves Quartz

Zinc; Chromium Ores; Diamond; Tin; Uranium; Gold; Oil; Copper; Nickel; Tungsten; Platinum; Graphite; Coal; Phosphate; Potash; Bauxite; Iron Ores; Natural Gas; Vanadium; Fluorspar; Salt Source: Russian Federation; US Geological Survey (USGS)

4.

Prospect

for

Russias

Reengagement with Africa Russias involvement in Africa is not new; it heightened during the

Cold War period, largely driven by the Kremlins search for geostrategic advantage. After the Cold War, leading up to the 1990s, Russian foreign policy resulted in withdrawal from

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Africa and other developing exerting a strong attraction for Russian Africa and Russia Supply of World Major Energy countries. As Russia begun to return energy companies. The African to African countries in the early continent currently accounts for about 2000s, its pursuit of Africas high 9.7 percent of the world proven oil concentrations of strategic minerals Oil reserves of 1.2 trillion barrels and its oil Share of world production and significant deposits of petroleum reserves are growing at an annual rate of 1973 2009 and uranium emerged as a key driver Africa 10.1 12.4 3.2 percent. With regard to natural gas, of its increasing commercial Russia 15.0 16.7 Africas share of the global gas deposits engagement with the continent. of 181.46 trillion cubic meters is Russias geopolitical goal to extend estimated at 7.8 percent. As Africas Europes dependence on the import comparative advantage in the scope and of its energy also inspired its quest Gas frequency of new discoveries is being Share of world production for Africas natural resources. 1973 2009 courted by global energy consumption Africa 0.8 6.5 countries such as Russia, precautionary Although self-sufficient in fuels and Russia 19.7 24.8 measures should be put in place to power generation, Russias energyensure that sustainable economic and dependence (primary source of hard social benefits accrue from natural currency and revenues) and the resources exploitation. Coal plummeting reserves of oil and gas Share of world production could negatively affect its recent 1973 2009 Increasing Russian investments in economic growth and drive to Africa 3.0 14.6 Africa could have both positive and Russia 22.8 6.3 become a world-leading energy negative outcomes. On the one hand, producer. Under the Soviet system, while such investments might represent Russian energy pricing and significant economic opportunities for consumption policies called for resource-rich African countries, there is Hydro subsidized prices far below world Share of world production a risk that, coupled with limited market prices and higher output 1973 2009 domestic policies, they might generate Africa 2.2 3.0 volumes without conservation negative social and environmental Russia 9.4 7.3 measures, which resulted in excessive outcomes for Africa. On the other hand, consumption of energy, increased Russias well-established expertise in exports of natural gas and oil, and, extracting energy resources and more recently, in plummeting energy Nuclear advanced nuclear know-how presents a reserves. With the current proven oil Share of world production value-added opportunity for Africa. It is 1973 2009 reserves of 60 billion barrels, Russia worth noting that Russia is participating Africa 0.0 0.0 will have to rely on new discoveries Russia 5.9 9.7 in tenders for the construction of the of oil in order to meet the growing first nuclear power plants in Egypt and Source: International Energy Agency Statistics 2010 global demand for energy. Similarly, Nigeria, which have significant uranium Europes increasing consumption of reserves. energy and dependence on oil and gas imports from Russia puts pressure on Also, Russias own experience with the the Kremlin to seek alternative problems that plagued its energy sector sources of energy. during the 1990s and its ability and knowledge to restructure the sector for Africa, with its rich endowment of improved management and higher crude oil reserves, natural gas productivity, could provide a salutary deposits, and other minerals, is lesson to be learned by African countries.

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To date, Russia has

written off over US$ 20 billion of Africa debt, and, like other G8 members, has pledged to double its ODA to African countries

Furthermore, Russias membership in the G8 and its development commitments, offer African countries additional economic opportunities through opening its market, writing off African debt, and advocating for more debt reduction, especially for resource-rich African countries. To date, Russia has written off over US$ 20 billion of Africa debt, and, like other G8 members, has pledged to double its ODA to African countries. In addition to negotiating debt reliefs, Russia could contribute to promoting African regional cooperation by making debt reliefs conditional upon African nations demonstrated commitment to regional energy sector cooperation (i.e. policy harmonization, transborder projects, free trade agreements, and integrated pipeline and transmission networks on the continent). Resource-based firms in both developed and emerging countries have been playing a central role in generating revenues for the national economies of oil- and resource-rich countries in Africa. However, those revenues do not always translate into long-term sustainable growth, nor do the revenues generated from natural resources production always contribute to human capital and social infrastructure development in African countries. Foreign investment companies should be called upon to create incentives or adopt measures to generate sustainable and shared benefits for resourceproducing countries in Africa. For instance, Russian resource-based firms should negotiate exploration and extraction agreements with the provision that a percentage of the investment should be earmarked for socioeconomic development, i.e. a trust fund to be set up to support agro-business, education, health, and other forms of social welfare.

5.

Conclusion

Every reengagement effort since 2000 has reinforced the Kremlins relations with African governments and boosted economic and commercial partnerships between Russia and the continent. Although the current volume of trade between Russia and Africa is relatively low (considering the former Soviet Unions total trade volume with the world), the growing trend of commercial activities between the two regions has reasserted Moscows geo-economic strategic ambitions. Moreover, Russian firms seeking greater access to African natural resource fields are playing a key role in renewing and expanding Russias sphere of influence in Africa. While Russias search for alternative sources of energy provided the impulse for its new engagement with Africa, the Kremlins goal of remaining the worlds largest energy exporter propelled Russian corporations into the continent. Russias pursuit of strategic natural resources will benefit African countries; not only from a revenue-generating point of view, but also because of the catalytic role the increased investments will have on socioeconomic growth and development. Russias expertise in energy exploration and production, and its membership in the G8 present an opportunity for African governments to work jointly with Russian companies and international organizations such as the African Development Bank in order to ensure a strong and constructive linkage between Russias energy interests and sustained economic growth in the continent.

To date, Russia has

written off over US$ 20 billion of Africa debt, and, like other G8 members, has pledged to double its ODA to African countries